With the weather looking good in both directions, we decided it was time for some IMCA racing on Saturday. So Fred, Darryl, and I headed north to the Davenport, Iowa Speedway to close out the IMCA Deery Brothers Summer Series season on the big fairgrounds 1/2 mile. The change in lat some tracks combined with some rainouts made this only my second Summer Series event of the year - the first one and the last one. A solid field of 35 IMCA late models headlined by my count a 94 car field in five classes.
The late model heats ran first, as they would be the only class running B-mains. In the first ten lapper, Rob Toland lost the top spot as he tried to put a slower car a lap down, with IMCA national champion Justin Kay getting by for the win. Ironically, the same situation would bite Kay later on. Jeff Aikey took the third and final transfer spot. Heat two saw Dan Shelliam lead the distance, although a mid race bobble brought him back to the field. Andy Eckrich settled for second, while Summer Series champion Brian Harris and Chad Simpson, driving the Diercks # 30 dueled for third before Harris pulled away. Heat three saw Yankee Dirt Track Classic night two winner Joel Callahan race from a row four start to second by lap five, and into the lead one lap later. He outdistanced Jon Poll for the win, with Jay Johnson edging past Joe Ross for third in the final turn. The final ten lapper had Ray Guss Jr and Denny Eckrich in an early battle, with Ray coming out on top. Nick Marolf claimed the third position. All four heats ran without a caution period.
Following eight heat races for the four support classes, it was B-main time for the late models. Simpson checked out in the first ten lapper, besting Darrell Defrance, Kyle Hinrichs, and Ryan Dolan, driving the #1 car. this is apparently a former Moring car now belonging to Rick Dralle - if my information is correct! Jason Rauen ran off with the second consy, while a great battle took place behind him for the next three transfer spots between Ross, series rookie of the year Rob Moss, Brunson Behning, and later Spencer Direcks. Moss took the runnerup spot, with Behning third, and again Ross came up short, this time at the stripe, with Diercks taking fourth. Four provisionals completed the starting grid, including Tommy Elston, Nate Beuseling, Matt Ryan, and Ron Boyse.
The Caseys Pizza redraw came next, with Kay and Shelliam winding up with the front row start.
The 23 car street stock feature came next, and at this point, the swiftly moving show began to have some issues. Several cautions slowed the 12 lap event, but Jeremy Gustaf held on to the top spot flag to flag. Jeremy has had an interesting and up and down season, and Saturday night reflected that, as he won the feature, but suffered a broken front end at the checkers, and had to be towed to the inspection area.
The IMCA modified 15 lap finale saw 16 cars start - all but the # 85, who broke in hot laps and was out the gate early. Veteran Bob Dominacki also missed his heat, but made repairs by feature time. Four early cautions slowed the action, including one car who shall remain nameless who had contact with another car, wound up in the infield, then pulled onto the track and stopped to get a caution flag. At this point, Ray Cox Jr held the lead, and with Dakota Hayden running a close second. But Hayden went to the work area, rejoining the field at the tail. The final 11 laps then went caution free with Cox leading all the way, over Bobby Moyer, the # 25 of Derek Walker, and Hayden, as only eight cars took the checkers.
With the clock ticking - a good time to run the late models? - the 13 4 stock cars came to the track for ten laps. Davenport track champion Aaron Hitt scored an easy win.
Next up it was a five car ten lap feature for the IMCA sport mods. Although only five machines, it took three tries to complete the first lap. When the green finally waved, track champion Bryce Garnhart raced to a 1/4 lap win, and with 10:30 approaching, the post race picture taking and interview was waved off, as the late models came to the track for their 40 lap finale.
Shelliam jumped to the early lead, and he and Kay swapped to top spot in the early laps, as Toland joined the fray. On lap ten, Kay took command, then came up on slower traffic almost immediately. On lap 11, Toland took second, and five laps later Andy Eckrich raced into third. The only caution of the race came on lap 18, when Guss, who had been running in the top six, stopped on the backstretch with a flat tire. The restart saw Aikey, advance from fifth to fourth on the Delaware restart, the one lap later he moved around Andy Eckrich for third. At the same time, Rauen, who started 14th, moved to sixth.
On lap 19, Simpson gave up a top five spot, pulling to the infield. At the halfway mark, Aikey powered around Toland for second, and Rauen moved to fifth. Kay was enjoying a sizable lead at this point, but my notes have a " but " written here, as Aikey seemed to be getting faster. The leader caught traffic again on lap 30, and on lap 32 Kay came upon a mass of cars running the low and middle lanes of the speedway. At this point, second is a good place to be, and Aikey took to the high side to overtake Kay and some slower cars in the process. The lapped traffic that helped Kay in his heat burned him in the money race. Toland began to fade, and Harris, who started 12th, and fell back to 14th at one point had been on the move since the restart. With just a couple laps to go, he charged past Eckrich, fooling even the scoreboard operator and the announcer, neither of whom apparently realized he was in the top five! When the checkers waved, there were ten cars on the lead lap, with the official run down as follows:
Aikey, Kay, Harris, A Eckrich, Rauen, Callahan, Denny Eckrich, who went from 11th to fifth to tenth, to seventh, Toland, 21st starting Elston, and Marolf.
The clock read 11:02 as Fred fired up the van, and all in all it was a good night of racing in Davenport. Congrats to all the winners, and champions, and to car owner Lynn Richard on his first Summer Series title!
Fall is here, but there are still plenty of big events, and the weather is fine, so take in all you can, and maybe I will see you Racin' Down the Road!